SKIPTON — The Tuckahoe Steam and Gas Show, a Talbot County mainstay in the month of July since 1973, will not be held this year.
Citing COVID-19 logistics and concerns, organizers have decided to instead announce dates for next year. The rescheduled show is now advertised for July 8 through 11, 2021.
The following statement was posted to the Tuckahoe Steam and Gas Association Facebook page: “We sadly have to announce that we are canceling events through July; this includes our Annual Show and Modified Tractor Pull. This has been an extremely hard decision to make.
“We have held a show for 46 years through hurricanes and other tough times. The board made every effort to find ways to bring events to our community in this time of need in our world.
“However, after contacting our local and state officials it became clear that we could not hold an event at this time. In addition to regulations related to the pandemic, we also had to assess the health risk to our volunteers and exhibitors as well as the spectators that come to support us.”
Popular draws including threshing demonstrations, the flea market, a parade of antique tractors, the draft horse pull, an auction, period crafters, updated museum displays, concerts and youth contests will have to wait until next year.
Such attractions annually bring up to 10,000 visitors and participants from nearly all Eastern Seaboard and Midwestern states to the Steam and Gas Show each July.
Tuckahoe Steam and Gas Association Vice President Pat Harvey of Easton believes that the sense of community and camaraderie among farm machinery enthusiasts may be what is missed the most.
“It’s pretty upsetting that they’re not getting to come to these events — people who they’ve known for years that they’re really good friends with and learn from. To lose any chance to spend time with those people and not share that knowledge and carry on those traditions is sad,” Harvey said in a June 24 telephone interview.
Some are firing their steam engines for social media video posts to provide some continuity as similar shows around the country have also been canceled this summer. Harvey named exactly two she was aware of that were still happening in some capacity.
The cancellation of the 47th annual show, originally slated for July 9 through 12, 2020, does not mean, however, that all events at the 70-acre Skipton facility are suspended until further notice.
The Facebook page for the Steam and Gas Association also indicated that “the board is continuing to look for event ideas for the fall. We currently have a modified tractor pull scheduled for September. We are also hoping to have a fall festival of some type later in the year. Ideas regarding virtual tours are also being assessed to continue educating the public.”
The Tuckahoe Steam and Gas Association is a non-profit volunteer organization that collects, restores, displays and operates vintage agricultural equipment for future generations to learn about their rural heritage.
The Steam and Gas Show joins other annual local events such as Oxford Day and the Waterfowl Festival in canceling in-person activities for 2020. Other traditions including the Talbot County Fair will still be held but adapted to align with social distancing guidelines.